Skip to main content

Full text of "Lincoln, the world emancipator"

See other formats


LINCOLN 

The World Emancipator 

By John Drinkwater 




S. G. and E. L. ELBERT 



Ctlu"ti*vr itf 








in 



ftafSJMtI«Ji» W JLIA SMIIH_ELBER!P.._ IB8 
MS) 

___jttseE4Rim_a^ comae 



ITS 



o 




Lincoln 
The World Emancipator 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/lincolnworldeman1920drin 



LINCOLN 

THE WORLD EMANCIPATOR 

BY 
JOHN DRINKWATER 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 



COPYRIGHT, I92O, BY JOHN DRINKWATER 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



To 
HERBERT HOOVER 



Contents 

I. 'Liberty* i 

II. C E Pluribus Unum* 13 

III. Anglo-American Union 27 

IV. Lincoln as Symbol 39 
V. Anglo-American Differences (I) 51 

VI. Anglo-American Differences (II) 63 

VII. Lincoln as Reconciler 75 

VIII. History and Art 85 

IX. Lincoln and the Artists 97 

X. An Epilogue 109 



I 

* Liberty' 



LINCOLN 

THE WORLD EMANCIPATOR 

I 

'LIBERTY' 

Lincoln, the world emancipator. It is a 
significant phrase, having surely an air of 
reality for those who know the story of 
the man. Among all men in the modern 
history of the world there is none who 
has so persuasively that magnetic union 
of mastery and sympathy that fills our 
minds when we think of the spiritual 
liberator. 

Intimately of the world, yet unsoiled 
by it ; vividly in contact with every emo- 
tion of his fellows and aware always of 
the practical design of their lives ; always 
lonely, brooding apart from all, yet alien- 
ated from none — Abraham Lincoln, pio- 
neer, citizen, country lawyer, astute poli- 



4 The World Emancipator 

tician, and incorruptible statesman, stands 
readily enough in the alert imagination 
as a new symbol of regenerative power. 
Already, half a century after his death, 
the mind of man perceives in this single- 
hearted champion of a moral idea a figure 
to whom all sorrows and ambitions may 
be brought, a touchstone by which every 
ideal of conduct may be tried, a witness 
for the encouragement of the forlornest 
hope. 

'Character is fate,' said the Greek, 
and character remains for us the only 
true inspiration. He who most com- 
pletely realizes himself is he who most 
fitly assumes leadership of men, not only 
in the days of his life on earth, but in the 
story that he becomes thereafter. And for 
nearly two thousand years there has been 
no man of whom we have record who 
has so supremely realized himself to the 
very recesses of his being as this Amer- 
ican, Lincoln. Rightly envisaged in the 



Liberty 5 

universal imagination, he might well be- 
come the world's emancipator. But, be- 
fore we consider further his aptness to 
this end, let us ask ourselves what eman- 
cipation means, and from what power it 
is that we need emancipation. 

I am speaking now as an Englishman 
among Americans. The thousand details 
of domestic policy that beset this coun- 
try, as every other, are not my concern. 
I can form fleeting and casual impressions 
of their nature, but I am not so simple 
as to be guilty of the impertinence of 
passing judgment upon them. The inter- 
nal machinery of a nation's affairs is 
that nation's own business, and we in 
England have learned enough by the ex- 
ample of certain busy visitors presuming 
to teach us the way to carry our own 
coats to avoid a like rashness and abuse 
of hospitality. So that of the local differ- 
ences between us I have here nothing to 
say. 



6 The World Emancipator 

These are the things that do much to 
make up the charm of a holiday journey, 
to be observed with good humour and 
respect. But moving among American 
people I am daily more and more aware 
that underneath all external differences 
there is a profound unity of being in our 
two races, that the problems confronting us 
are largely the same, and that any supreme 
figure that can be found to stand for an 
inspiration to either of us may very rightly 
so stand to both. And if Lincoln should 
prove to be such a figure, then we in 
England should be proud and happy if 
we could do something towards the dis- 
covery, rejoicing without any envy that 
he rose in Illinois and not from one of 
the counties or the Thames or the Tweed. 

I look at a handful of American coins. 
On all alike I find one of two legends — 
* Liberty' and 'E Pluribus Unum/ The 
pressure of life may sometimes a little 
take the edge off your realization of the 



Liberty 7 

fact that your emblem is Liberty and of 
the true meaning of your * E Pluribus 
Unum,' just as we in England too often 
forget what we mean when we say that 
* Britons never shall be slaves.' But, how- 
ever dulled our recollection may become, 
the fact remains, and it is a fact of strange 
beauty: the American and British nations 
alike have at the very roots of their struc- 
ture the profoundly mystical idea of the 
coexistence of individual liberty and na- 
tional unity, an idea exquisitely expressed 
in those two inscriptions on your five-cent 
piece. In defence of that mystery, and for 
no other possible righteous cause, the two 
countries have but yesterday borne arms 
together. And in the play that I wrote, 
the mission that, in introducing my theme, 
I outlined as being Lincoln's, was to 

Make as one the names again 
Of Liberty and Law. 

It is significant that I wrote those 
words long before I realized how exactly 



8 The World Emancipator 

is the spirit of them in the inscriptions 
on the currency that passes among you 
every moment; wrote them merely out 
of my perception of the idea that Lin- 
coln and the fine flower of American 
democracy stand for. 

Individual liberty and national unity. 
What is individual liberty, as conceived 
in the best democratic thought, the best 
thought, that is, in America and Eng- 
land to-day? Let us look at the facts 
honestly, and go back if needs be to sim- 
ple beginnings. 

And first let us get away from the 
notion that the real democratic idea is 
that one man is as good as another. If 
the word ' good ' has any plain meaning 
at all, it is manifestly absurd to say that 
Bill Sykes was as good a man as George 
Washington, or that George the Third 
was as good a man as William Shake- 
speare. The true democratic idea is not 
that one man is as good as another, but 



Liberty 9 

that in natural privileges and opportunity 
one man shall have as good a chance as 
another, so that Bill Sykes, if at the end 
he has still been unable to make a decent 
job of his life, shall not be able to tell 
society that he failed because he was de- 
prived of his natural rights as an individ- 
ual. It is by the way to say that given 
his natural rights Bill Sykes is pretty sure 
to make a far better job of his life than 
he ever does without them. And the 
sanctity of natural rights is not finally 
satisfied by universal education and uni- 
versal franchise. 

These things properly understood and 
exercised are well enough, but both these 
and other presumably liberal institutions 
may sometimes have the effect of betray- 
ing that very freedom of the individual 
that it is their right function to foster. 
When an educational system engages it- 
self, as it too often does, in training a 
child to a preconceived end instead of 



io The World Emanoipator 

fitting him to frame a purpose of his 
own, or when a universal and equal fran- 
chise is used by a majority to deprive a 
minority of self-determination in some 
purely personal affair, you have the seeds 
of tyranny bearing their rank fruit in 
systems established in the name of lib- 
erty. The only natural right of the indi- 
vidual worth bothering about is his right 
freely and completely to realize himself. 
The only real progress in the world comes 
when a man, for good or ill, is allowed 
wholly to be himself. You cannot make 
him really better than he is by legisla- 
tion; all you can do by legislation is, 
when he has been stunted in his growth 
and not allowed to become himself fully, 
to prevent the truncated version of him- 
self from being a nuisance to his fellows. 
This doctrine does not imply a license 
for every man to run amuck and intimi- 
date society. For the splendid and eter- 
nally hopeful thing about human nature 



Liberty i i 

is that whenever it is allowed full rational 
development it hardly ever wants to run 
amuck or to intimidate any one. In so 
far as it does want to do this, it has to be 
restrained, by force if necessary, but it is 
the worst casuistry of interested author- 
ity that pretends that most men are by 
instinct blackguards, and that only by 
dragooning can their blackguardism be 
kept under control. When a man behaves 
like a blackguard, it is in nearly every 
case because, through some incomplete 
opportunity of self-realization, he is not 
behaving like himself. 

That, then, is what individual freedom 
means to the honest democrat. (I use the 
word 'democrat' always in its general 
sense, not in its particular American 
party-political sense.) And in claiming for 
every man the right to perfect his own na- 
ture, whatever the quality of that nature 
may be, we may reassure ourselves that 
with that perfection almost invariably goes 



12 The World Emancipator 

a responsible sense of decent behaviour 
in every man towards his fellows. When 
a man is frightened, when his being is 
repressed and his will twisted by the ca- 
price of the will of others, he becomes a 
menace to society as surely as a sick body 
is a menace to society. But a free man is 
a menace to nobody; for in his heart is 
the wisdom that knows that no man 
is free who does not recognize the free- 
dom of every other man on earth. 

This was the first article of Lincoln's 
creed. It was the faith, held with pas- 
sionate conviction, that bade the new 
American Republic take ' Liberty ' for 
one panel of its watchword. It is the idea 
that has persisted through nearly five 
centuries of our English life, making our 
national unity still a thing for which 
more than a million men gave their lives. 
What that national unity means, what 
is the true significance of ' E Pluribus 
Unum,' shall be our next consideration. 



II 

*E Pluribus Unum' 



II 

<E PLURIBUS UNUM' 

Behind all truly great and profound 
workings of the human spirit is a mysti- 
cal element. Just as growth in nature is 
surrounded by the mystical processes of 
fertilization and birth, of unions of two 
forces to produce a third, of such strange 
ordinations as the rigours of winter pre- 
paring the harvests of the fall, so in the 
corporate energies of mankind building 
up communities and nations we are aware 
of primal impulses that are at a glance 
irreconcilable, and yet on reflection are 
seen to be complementary to each other. 
No more striking instance of this is to 
be found in history than in the problem 
that faced Lincoln when he became Pres- 
ident of the United States. 

Setting aside for the moment his con- 
stitutional responsibilities, which made 



1 6 The World Emancipator 

him recognize the practice of slavery 
under certain conditions, here was a man 
whose every instinct was for freeing a 
subject race in the name of that individ- 
ual liberty of which we have spoken. In 
clear enough terms he proclaimed that 
it was no question as to the relative supe- 
riority of one race or another, or, in words 
that I have already used, as to whether 
one man was as good as another. It was 
merely a question, he insisted, of every 
man, irrespective of race or natural en- 
dowment, fulfilling himself unbeset by 
the tyranny of others, even though that 
tyranny should sometimes be beneficent 
in intention. And at the very moment 
when he had this question to settle, he 
was called upon to answer the claim of 
a vast number of people, speaking with 
impressive unanimity, to self-government 
and the right to repudiate national unity. 
In the same breath that he announced 
the freedom of the individual to be a 



E Pluribus Unum 17 

sacred cause in which no sacrifice could 
be too great, he declared resistance against 
this other claim to be a cause equally 
sacred, one for which he would and did 
commit his country to furious agony. 

There lies the argument of as pro- 
foundly moving a drama as has ever beaten 
through the heart of a man and a nation. 
At first it would seem that in its two de- 
cisions Lincoln's mind was contradicting 
itself, that his refusal to the South was a 
negation of his stand for the negroes. 
Here, it might be said by sincere but su- 
perficial thought, was a plea at once for 
personal independence and public sub- 
jection. But this was not the truth of 
Lincoln's position. Had there been no 
slave issue, the South would have made 
no claim to the right of secession, and 
while it is important to remember that 
it was against this claim that Lincoln 
fought and not against the slave founda- 
tion so long as it was confined within 



1 8 The World Emancipator 

existing limitations, it is equally impor- 
tant to remember that at bottom what 
led the South to revolt was not some ideal 
wish for a separate national being, but 
the ambition to extend slave-rights which 
as they then stood were not in immediate 
dispute. While this reflection throws a 
very significant sidelight upon the par- 
ticular case in dispute and Lincoln's atti- 
tude towards it, the fact remains that it 
was definitely the claim to right of seces- 
sion that Lincoln resisted by force, irre- 
spective altogether of the purpose behind 
the claim. What, then, is this principle 
of national unity that he, with all his 
passion for liberty, thought it right to 
preserve at so heavy a cost ? 

In the first place let us dismiss the idea 
that national unity is desirable merely 
because of numerical force, as though the 
people who could put the largest army 
into the fields of war or commerce were 
necessarily the people to whom national 



E Pluribus Unum 19 

unity meant most. This is the view of the 
stupidest kind of materialism, and should 
concern us as little as it did Lincoln. Na- 
tional unity is as important a thing to a 
Dane as it is to a Chinaman. The con- 
certed voice of a nation of four hundred 
million people is not more impressive than 
that of one of five million, otherwise 
Belgium must docilely have done as Ger- 
many bade her in 19 14. 

It was not on such considerations as 
these that Lincoln opposed the division 
of the United States into two nations of 
North and South. He opposed it because 
he perceived that if once an internal dis- 
integration of that kind were allowed to 
begin, the abstract principle of nationality 
would be threatened in his country, and 
quite possibly destroyed, and it was this 
abstract principle that he was defending 
because he was inflexibly convinced of its 
mystical purport in the lives of men and 
of the direct value it bore to individual 



20 The World Emancipator 

liberty. What the precise mystical mean- 
ing of this sense of nationality is was never 
more apparent than it is in the life of 
the world to-day. It was not the least of 
Lincoln's triumphs that he perceived this 
significance in the abstract at a time when 
its operation in daily affairs was far from 
being as obvious as it was to become a 
couple of generations thence. 

In this matter he was largely the prac- 
tical statesman working to a prophetic 
end, guided by spiritual instinct rather 
than by immediate necessities. The fact 
that needed the vision of the seer for Lin- 
coln to apprehend is plain for all of us 
but the wantonly blind or imbecile to- 
day. The problem that is distracting every 
country alike in our western civilization 
to-day is the conflict between capital 
and labour. It is a conflict that has been 
brewing through thirty years of indus- 
trial development and one that was bound 
sooner or later to come to a crisis in the 



E Pluribus Unum 21 

open. But in every country, in so far as 
it is purely a conflict between two forces 
in society that have forgotten in a wild 
competitive turmoil that their interests 
are indisputably the same, the collision 
is not a very alarming one, nor is it by 
any means beyond hope of rational and 
permanent settlement. In England, for 
example, the working-man has for a gen- 
eration been underpaid and overworked. 
This has been less due to the deliberate 
villainy of employers than might often 
be supposed from the denunciations of 
public agitators. The evil condition has 
been of slowly insidious and almost un- 
seen growth, and capital often enough has 
been unconscious of its injustices. But 
while we may decline to indulge too 
freely in imprecations, the injustice has 
been there, and cruel in its working. 
Labour has very rightly revolted against 
it, and with the revolt has come, as may 
be seen by unmistakable evidence on every 



22 The World Emancipator 

hand, a quickening on the part of capital 
to its responsibilities and a real desire in 
employers, especially the younger ones, 
to meet every rational demand of labour, 
and a new understanding of common in- 
terests. On this aspect of the question I 
can imagine no clearer or more convinc- 
ing statement than is to be found in cer- 
tain chapters of Mr. Frank Vanderlip's 
remarkable book, 'What Happened to 
Europe.' Arid in so far as this problem 
with us is a case of one body of English- 
men disputing as to certain personal rights 
with another body of Englishmen, there 
is no great difficulty in the way of settle- 
ment, nor have I any fear that such set- 
tlement will now be long delayed. The 
admirable temper with which our railway 
strike of 1 9 1 9 was conducted is of the best 
omen, and I know from personal contact 
the extreme anxiety of the best of our 
labour leaders to reach a durable under- 
standing without bitterness; and the ex- 



E Pluribus Unum 23 

perience of every country must, I am sure, 
be the same as ours. In so far as the labour 
problem in America consists of a readjust- 
ment of privileges between two bodies of 
Americans, it should be certain of quick 
and complete solution. 

There is, however, another aspect of 
the labour question, which very mate- 
rially bears upon the value of national 
unity of which we are speaking. By the 
accidents of migration it affects some 
countries more closely than others, but 
it is more or less present throughout the 
western world. There are floating about 
the earth a vast number of isolated hu- 
man beings who have, in any strict sense, 
no nationality at all. It is perhaps when 
you leave your own country for a time 
that you most become aware of what 
nationality means to you ; but, however 
that may be, in the normal course of his 
life a man is no more conscious on the 
surface of having a nationality than he 



24 The World Emancipator 

is of having a pair of boots when he goes 
out in the wet. If he suddenly found 
himself in the wet without boots he 
would be very acutely conscious that 
boots meant something. It is not a case 
of one nationality being better than an- 
other, just as we saw that it was not a 
case of one man being better than an- 
other in the matter of individual liberty. 
None but a tomfool Englishman thinks 
that the English are better than Amer- 
icans, and none but a tomfool American 
thinks that Americans are better than 
the English. Each of them, when he 
really gets his mind down to it, knows, 
however critical he may be of his gov- 
ernment and fellow-countrymen, that the 
very possession of an explicit nationality 
gives spiritual moorings and an established 
background to his whole life. Without 
this he remains always, and necessarily 
so, preoccupied with his personal inter- 
est, and becomes a disturbing influence 
wherever he may move. 



E Pluribus Unum 25 

Again, it is futile to blame him, but 
it is futile, too, to ignore the fact. He 
has nothing of the mystical sense of 
belonging to a whole that is greater 
than himself — that is, indeed, the great- 
est expression of himself; he has no 
symbol to speak to him of the secur- 
ity and splendour of a commonweal. We 
who have this often enough disregard 
it, but without it we should forlornly 
realize what it is to be outcast, and it 
is a realization that sears the spirit of 
man and makes him an unhappy irri- 
tant in the world. It adds to our power 
of individual liberty, it does not take 
away from it. With majestic vision Lin- 
coln knew this, and it was the same deep 
understanding that led America to add 
to the inscription * Liberty ' that other 
one, * E Pluribus Unum/ We may now 
see how America and England stand to- 
gether in the world for this mystic union 
of the two things. 



Ill 

Anglo-American Union 



Ill 

ANGLO-AMERICAN UNION 
Whatever abuse honest dealing may 
seem to come to in the daily pressure of 
life, the history of social evolution teaches 
us that in the long run the moral idea 
always triumphs over a false immediate 
expediency. Such expediency to-day is 
crying shrilly throughout the world, as 
though the bitterness of the past five 
years had gone for nothing. We must 
face clearly a very simple but pregnant 
fact : either the Great War was fought 
for freedom, or it was a base war. 

In every country there are many peo- 
ple who advocate a disgusting scramble 
for some kind of spoils or another, peo- 
ple often with great influence and power- 
ful interests, and unless this insensate 
gospel is steadily opposed by the rest of 
us with a clear moral idea, the faith in 



30 The World Emancipator 

which our friends — millions of them — 
died will be shamefully betrayed, and the 
blame will be as heavily upon us as upon 
the reactionaries whose little vision we 
failed to enlarge. But the great idea will 
surely assert itself, and doing so its domi- 
nation is certain. 

If there is one force above all others 
that can foster the future political and 
social well-being of the world, I have no 
hesitation in saying that it is a right 
understanding and cooperation between 
the American and English peoples. To 
consider first the actual magnitude of 
such a force. The two races together 
make up an agency that is in the fore- 
front of the world in physical vigour, in 
commercial enterprise and experience, in 
public spirit, in artistic vitality, and in a 
reputation for personal integrity. There 
is no measuring the authority that would 
attach to any clearly defined ideal that 
might be expressed by the united voices 



Anglo-American Union 3 1 

of the two countries; it would have a 
weight in the consciousness of the world 
that could not fail to impress itself in- 
delibly. 

The two races are peculiarly fitted for 
such unity of doctrine, by tradition and 
ancestry, by their literature, by their 
speech and the habit of their lives, and 
by their natural instincts. And if they 
should at this time speak together for 
an ideal that should hold the coming 
days against the forces of reaction, it is 
clear that their instincts would work as 
one in deciding what that ideal should 
be. We both boast of being free people, 
and the boast happily is not without 
reason. But our freedom is being se- 
verely tested, and it is for us to show 
that it can stand whatever strain may be 
imposed upon it by greedy or revengeful 
plutocrats and Prussianized militarists on 
the one hand and the mere delirium of 
anarchy on the other. Both countries 



32 The World Emancipator 

have the proud heritage of individual 
liberty, recorded for them at Washington 
and at Runnymede. To show ourselves 
worthy of the right, we will guard it 
against the inroads of the jack-in-office 
and the drill-sergeant. Both countries 
have the principle of national unity in- 
grained in their constitutional codes, and 
it is far too precious a thing to surrender 
to disaffected visionaries who have lost 
their hold on facts and who forget that 
liberty without law is as surely chaos in 
the spiritual world as it is in the mate- 
rial. 

The assertion of these two ideas in 
perfect fusion — * Liberty ' and ' E Plu- 
ribus Unum ' — is the moral purpose for 
which America and England may stand 
together to-day with overwhelming au- 
thority against every negation. And never 
have two races been more fit in natural 
equipment for alliance in so good a cause. 
In every considerable respect the way for 



Anglo-American Union 33 

^— ■ — ' ■■' ■ ■ ■ 11 11 ■ ■ 1 —■■ — W^ — — II 1 ■ ■— Mill 1 ■ 1 

such a union of purpose is free of obsta- 
cles. But it is greatly to be desired that 
the people in the two countries who 
have anything to do with the leadership 
of thought should have every opportunity 
for personal acquaintance. It has been 
said that good- will between two nations 
depends more upon personal friendship 
than upon common interests. This may 
conceivably be a debatable proposition 
politically, but there is fortunately no 
question of choice. If we have not 
learned from the war that the common 
interest is an established fact, we have 
learned nothing — a common interest far 
profounder than a purely military one. 
In this matter it grows daily more cer- 
tain that to any long-sighted view the 
interest of every people in the world is 
the common interest, and it is no longer 
doubtful that distemper in any spot of 
the globe reacts in every part of it as 
surely as it does in a man's body. But 



34 The World Emancipator 

while the common interest of the world 
is established as a matter of plain sense, 
and its binding power assured unless the 
world has turned bedlam — the apparent 
evidence of which we may fortunately 
mistrust — the value of personal friend- 
ship between peoples can hardly be over- 
rated, and those of us on both sides of 
the Atlantic who desire the alliance of 
which I have been speaking see a pecu- 
liar and subtle necessity for this intimacy 
between Americans and the English. 

If you from America or I from Eng- 
land make a trip to China or Lapland 
we go prepared for a life that in its ex- 
ternal habit is wholly unlike our own. 
Language, clothes, manners, personal en- 
vironment, business and domestic meth- 
ods, are all so foreign to us that we 
accept the difference as a thing for inter- 
ested observation, and because of its very 
strangeness we think no more about it. 
But when two people have in all essen- 



Anglo-American Union 35 

tial respects the same speech and customs 
and appearance, there is always the like- 
lihood of a superficial acquaintance or 
acquaintance at a distance emphasizing 
the slight differences. On each side, at 
first, there is a momentary tendency to 
suppose that the other man is working 
precisely to your own standard and not 
quite bringing it off ("putting it over," 
since I am in New York and not in 
London !), and we are aware of what seem 
to be little peculiarities in idiom and the 
cut of a coat and of table ceremony and 
the like, and then we are always a little 
apt thoughtlessly to laugh at the other 
fellow. We all know the capital that the 
cartoonists and witty paragraphists on 
either side make of this kind of thing. 
And while we all very much like to be 
laughed at when we are trying to be 
funny, we rightly enough don't so much 
like to be laughed at when we are trying 
to be natural, and so there comes from 



36 The World Emancipator 

an entirely trivial source a certain danger 
of friction of which we may be hardly 
conscious, but which none the less does 
its work. And one of the virtues of two 
days' personal intimacy is that these 
things are entirely forgotten. I need not 
say that I do not suggest that this is its 
chief virtue; it is a small one, but one 
of peculiar consequence. 

Here, then, is epitomized a large 
movement of the public mind between 
two races such as perhaps more than any 
other at this stage of history might help 
in clearing up the woeful untidiness into 
which civilization has fallen. When the 
communal mind of a society or societies 
addresses itself to any great abstract idea, 
such as is here proposed, nothing is more 
helpful to the process than the discovery 
of some concrete symbol round which 
abstract aspirations can take shape. Never 
was this necessity more completely served 
than it is in our present case by the fig- 



Anglo-American Union 37 

ure of Abraham Lincoln. I should like 
to think that the people which produced 
him would take this inevitable choice as 
the best tribute that an Englishman could 
pay to the character of their race, for no 
man is greater than the composite qual- 
ity of the race from which he springs. 
The English feeling that this choice is 
the inevitable one is not so new a thing 
as it might seem. It is true that in the 
years 1860—65 there was a large body 
of opinion in England antagonistic, and 
very stupidly so, to Lincoln and his cause, 
and that body included a majority in 
governmental authority. But it is equally 
true that a large and very populous part 
of England supported the Union with 
heroic self-sacrifice ; there are still living 
men who remember the almost starving 
crowds of cotton operatives kneeling 
down in the great town-square at Man- 
chester when the first cotton bale was 
brought in after the war. And it was an 



38 The World Emancipator 

act, not merely of thanksgiving for re- 
turning livelihood, but of grave assurance 
that the right, for which they had suf- 
fered three thousand miles away, had 
won. No cause in those years in Eng- 
land that had behind it the prestige of 
Bright and Cobden was without a solid 
following of the best and most weighty 
thought in the country. We in England 
to-day who look to Lincoln as the ex- 
emplar of a crusade in which we so pro- 
foundly believe, are not without an an- 
cestry who would bless our judgment. 
It is now the time to examine more 
closely the precise way in which Lincoln 
is fitted for this election,, 



IV 

Lincoln as Symbol 



IV 
LINCOLN AS SYMBOL 

The life-story of Lincoln in its recorded 
detail is too well known to be retold, 
least of all by an Englishman in Amer- 
ica. Yet there are some aspects of it that 
have to be considered anew for our pur- 
pose. It has been my privilege recently 
to spend several days in the Middle- 
West country, surrounded by the Lin- 
coln tradition. There more than any- 
where else, I suppose, is emphatic wit- 
ness of what Lincoln is in the American 
mind to-day. Often you will meet men 
who remember him in his lawyer days, 
and almost everybody has at one genera- 
tion's remove personal recollections of 
his daily life and a store of characteristic 
stories to tell about him. The figure of 
'Old Abe' looms largely, and quite nat- 
urally, in the mind of a generation that 



42 The World Emancipator 

has hardly forgotten him as a neighbour, 
and perhaps a little to the exclusion of 
that other figure that is not of local, or 
even national, but universal significance. 
It would be odd, indeed, if the man, 
whose homely habit and racy humour 
typify so exactly those strains in Amer- 
ican character, were not especially dear 
in the hearts of his countrymen for that 
side of his personality. But while a stran- 
ger listens enchanted and with entire sym- 
pathy to" these illuminations, be they 
gospel or apochryphal, he knows that in 
a hundred pilgrimages on earth he may 
be delighted by such sagas in little of the 
presiding genius. And should you or I 
ever become figures of even national im- 
portance, qualities would be discovered 
in us to lend colour to the same charm- 
ing kind of celebration. 

But when the evening closes and the 
pleasant gossip is over, the stranger goes 
up alone and remains with another Lin- 



Lincoln as Symbol 43 

coin, of whom these good yarns were but 
the trappings and the suits. He remem- 
bers the long determination of days in 
the wild places of Kentucky and Indiana, 
the slow preparation of a great executive 
genius on the slow and rambling Illinois 
circuit, the humble tenderness among his 
fellows of a man whose vision lay far 
beyond theirs, the awakening conscious- 
ness of a destiny to leadership, and the 
simple assumption of authority at a mo- 
ment when the difficulties of authority 
were without parallel in the nation's his- 
tory, when divine fitness alone could have 
called this man from relative obscurity 
above the claims of a dozen others famous 
in the public mind. And, remembering 
these things, the stranger, if he be an 
Englishman, proudly remembers, too, 
that the founders of a race great enough 
to produce this man, in whom practical 
ability and spiritual majesty were so 
strangely blended, were a little group of 



44 The World Emancipator 

voyagers from his own country, setting 
out to build a new world after their own 
gallant hearts. He responds, as likely 
enough he has never done before, to the 
commonplace phrase, 'our American 
cousins.' He tells himself that he has 
blood in his veins drawn not very far 
back in history from the stock that bore 
this hero of life, and he feels splendidly 
the kinship moving down from the Iron- 
sides of England to Abraham Lincoln of 
America, and back again, as it were, to the 
fearless yeoman-merchant stock among 
whom he still moves in his own country 
and of whom he got all that he most 
cares to think of in his own character. 
And the stranger goes the more gladly 
among his American friends for his 
thought. He knows that in this man, 
the fine flower of the native chivalry of 
their race, there is one in whom all his 
own best aspirations are consummated 
and given human form. He feels through 



Lincoln as Symbol 45 

this manifestation that the deepest desires 
of his own people and theirs are the same 
in the texture of their being. 

If we set aside for the moment what we 
call the local idiom of character, there 
is but one country in the world outside 
America that could by any chance have 
produced a man of the exact intellectual 
cast and moral significance of Lincoln, 
and it is England. Nor would an Eng- 
lishman wish to think that in any other 
race than the American could be produced 
a man corresponding to an ideal of his 
own. This is not said in any narrowly 
parochial sense, as implying that the 
apotheosis of the American or the Eng- 
lish race is a finer thing than that of others. 
No intelligent American or Englishman 
would speak without understanding rev- 
erence of Cavour and Garibaldi, of Wil- 
liam the Silent, of Joan of Arc, or of 
the Athenian princes. But these are the 
achievement of a genius in every case other 



46 The World Emancipator 

than our own, and, save in an entirely- 
general way, we admire in no spirit of 
emulation. The virtues that were so ad- 
mirable there may, it is true, be ours too, 
but we recognize no constitutional affinity. 
The human spirit there expressed itself 
to the same noble ends toward which we 
may reach, but their manner was not our 
manner, and they remain an inspiration 
without informing us in the realization 
of ourselves through the processes of our 
racial characteristics. ( It is the men who 
come to these same great issues and at the 
same time are of our own blood who must 
necessarily remain our best instructors. 
And in salient qualities an Englishman 
finds his own best potentiality expressed 
as surely and fully in Lincoln as though 
this man had spent his life in an English 
environment. So that if an Anglo-Ameri- 
can alliance of the kind we discussed can 
be achieved for the good of the world, 
there even is no figure so well fitted as he 



Lincoln as Symbol 47 

around whom may crystallize the govern- 
ing idea of such a union. Through a com- 
mon homage we shall point our imagi- 
nations to a common aim, and we in 
England may well look to America with 
gratitude for a light so clear, and with 
our gratitude will be mingled the pride 
of kinship. 

There is no contradiction in saying that 
Lincoln is becoming a universal figure 
and at the same time that he stands in 
sharp definition as a distinctive ideal of 
the English-speaking race. It is very much 
like the question of language itself. The 
English of Shakespeare and Milton and 
Emerson is far from being without its 
meaning for a Russian or a Dane, nor 
are we insensible to the Spanish of Cer- 
vantes or the German of Goethe. But to 
the average perceptive mind among us 
* Macbeth' and 'Samson Agonistes' and 
the ' Over-Soul ' must remain more sig- 
nificant utterances than < Don Quixote ' 



48 The World Emancipator 

or ' Faust.' Or, again, a man may travel 
the world with eyes eager for the beauty 
oi every landscape and go back to his 
home with a durable treasure of recollec- 
tion; but his own familiar countryside 
will to the end have a meaning for him 
that none other can displace or equal. 
The best thought in every land is becom- 
ing more and more aware of Lincoln's 
greatness, but it is with no jealous sense 
of proprietorship that we know that the 
last essence of that greatness must remain 
always in clearer revelation to us — I 
embody my hopes by speaking already 
of America and England as us — than to 
the rest of the world. 

In emphasizing the common charac- 
teristics of our two races, characteristics 
that may work so powerfully for good, 
I am by no means unaware of our dif- 
ferences. They are many and far from 
negligible. It is a notable thing that in 
this matter, too, Lincoln is very directly 



Lincoln as Symbol 49 

to our purpose, and it will be worth 
while to enquire in what they consist 
and in what way they seem to be recon- 
ciled in Lincoln's personality. In doing 
this I know I shall not be accused of 
abusing the privilege of a guest. No 
words of mine can express my sense of 
the courtesy and friendliness with which 
I have been met by Americans of every 
interest and shade of political opinion 
and ancestral tradition. I want to analyze 
our differences merely in pursuance of 
my general scheme. For to understand a 
difference is to respect it. 



V 

Anglo-American Differences (I) 



V 

ANGLO-AMERICAN DIFFERENCES (I) 

It is always easier for a stranger to gen- 
eralize, and to generalize shrewdly, about 
a country than it is for the people native 
to it. He is necessarily but very slightly 
informed, by comparison, as to the de- 
tail of organization and matters of per- 
sonal taste and prejudice, but he can, 
nevertheless, take a general view that is 
often very little out of focus. The very 
fact of being in new surroundings inevi- 
tably sharpens his faculty of observation. 
And while this enables him often to see 
things that custom is apt to erase from 
any conscious recognition, it also makes 
him refer his own deductions back to 
the environment of his own country, 
which he thus realizes with new clarity, 
and he may thus sometimes be in a posi- 
tion to draw not uninforming contrasts. 



54 The World Emancipator 

We may begin by considering the 
more superficial differences between 
America and England, many of them, 
perhaps, so trivial as to be no more than 
insignificant accidents. The first obvious 
impressions of an Englishman in America 
are of size and noise and a certain hetero- 
geneous quality in the character of the 
community. The size bewilders him a 
little, but it affects no more than the ar- 
rangement of the ordinary facilities of 
life. In England if you are to make a six 
hours' railway journey, it is an uncommon 
event that involves a day or two of prep- 
aration and you travel from end to end 
of the country. In America you go for 
a six hours' run with as little thought as 
you would take a car down the street, 
and the first time the stranger stays in a 
train for twenty-four hours and consults 
his map to find that he has apparently 
made but a stride from the coast, he may 
be forgiven a little perplexity. But here 



Anglo-American Differences 55 

is a difference that is plainly of no con- 
sequence, implying nothing. The same 
may be said of the noise. London seems 
to be thunder until you have been in 
New York. I amuse myself by trying to 
explain this, but without much success. 
Perhaps the height of the buildings has 
something to do with it, perhaps the 
greater traffic speed, perhaps an innate 
sense in the people that they live in a 
large country and must speak loudly to 
be heard. But whatever the cause, the 
fact is there. An Englishman in an as- 
sembly of Americans spends most of his 
time in wondering how any single voice 
can be distinguished among so much 
vigour. But, if he deals fairly with him- 
self, he remembers too that he himself 
often cannot be heard at all. The rather 
vociferous headlines of the American 
press and the vast expanses of an adver- 
tisement seem to him to be symptomatic 
of the same necessity, whatever it may 



56 The World Emancipator 

be. But he quickly realizes from it all 
that there is as little sense in supposing 
that his American friends are unduly ex- 
cited as there is in supposing that his own 
people are asleep. It is a difference no 
more important than the fact that here 
the traffic keeps to the right and not to 
the left, or that the dollar in his pocket 
represents more than the shilling at home 
in his bank account. He has to keep his 
wits about him, that is all. 

The heterogeneous quality of which 
I have spoken is another matter. The 
visitor soon recognizes that running 
through the country is a strong strain of 
blood other than that of the first English 
and Dutch settlers. I do not mean the 
definitely alien population, or the indi- 
vidual strays who have lost all sense of 
national unity. Of these I have already 
spoken. But in almost every American 
citizen, to whom nationality is a matter 
of cardinal importance equal with his 



Anglo-American Differences 57 

sense of personal liberty, there is a sug- 
gestion of a cosmopolitan instinct that 
comes of a slow process of assimilation 
of many strains into one composite racial 
effect. It has been suggested sometimes 
to me by shrewd American friends that 
the great size of the country, making 
complete contact with the entire national 
life extremely difficult for the average 
individual, tends to make provincialism 
more prevalent than it is in England, 
where it is relatively easy to keep in touch 
with the general activity from John 
O'Groats to Land's End. But the exact 
opposite seems to me to be the truth. 
Provincialism has never in my mind im- 
plied an inferior kind of life, and in Eng- 
land the provinces have contributed a 
good deal more than their share to the 
country's stock of national enlighten- 
ment. But whether its prevalence be 
reckoned a virtue or otherwise, I am sure 
that there is less of it in America than 



58 The World Emancipator 

in England. And for the thing that takes 
its place we have no precise parallel. Pro- 
vincialism implies being provincial to 
something, and in England the whole 
country is more or less explicitly provin- 
cial to London. This kind of fictitious 
relationship is, I think, not at all good 
for London, and not much good to the 
provinces, but it is a fact. But in Amer- 
ica the two circumstances of which I 
have spoken, a cosmopolitan — or more 
strictly, perhaps, one should say metro- 
politan — instinct of the people and the 
great distances dividing one centre of 
population from another have resulted in 
the creation of a great many towns very 
notably cosmopolitan — or metropolitan 
— in character. And each of these has 
not only an independent unity, but also 
a remarkable degree of self-contained 
finality. You feel in them, far less than 
you do almost anywhere in England, that 
they are, so to speak, on the way to 



Anglo-American Differences 59 

somewhere or the destination from some- 
where. They are merely and sufficiently 
themselves. 

Two small but significant indications 
may be seen by a comparison between 
the hotels and roads of the two coun- 
tries. In every town to-day much of its 
most important life must necessarily cen- 
tre in its hotels. In England the hotels 
in all but the largest towns, and in most 
of them, are bad. The inference is, subtly 
but plainly, that you should want to stay 
there as short a time as you can, and with 
the least possible sense that it is worth 
while being in the town at all. The Eng- 
lish roads, on the other hand, are admir- 
able, as though everything should be done 
to make travel between place and place 
convenient. In America we find these 
things pertinently reversed. You go into 
a small town, such, shall we say, as 
Springfield, Illinois, and you find a hotel 
perfectly equipped, in close touch with 



60 The World Emancipator 

the civic life, taking an immense and 
impressive pride in itself, inviting you as 
it were to settle yourself down in a place 
that has not dreamt of any sovereignty 
but its own. But the roads are such as 
would raise a scream of protest in Eng- 
land, as though America had had neither 
time nor inclination to tidy up the high- 
way between this town and that. There 
is a straight and businesslike railway track 
if you really must move on to another 
place, but the one you happen to be in 
ought to seem good enough anyway. 
Commerce implies some sort of means 
of transit, but not such as is to be made 
a luxurious symbol of the virtue of mov- 
ing on. 

This homely and perhaps not alto- 
gether unfanciful contrast is symptomatic, 
it seems to me, of a striking difference 
in the governing machines in the two 
countries. The theory of government in 
England, a small country with continual 



Anglo-American Differences 6i 

action and reaction from point to point, 
is one of direct contact between parlia- 
ment and the people, and a daily responsi- 
bility of the man in office to the elector- 
ate. Although it may not always operate 
fully in practice, that is the theory, and 
a government is liable to defeat and dis- 
solution at a moment's notice if it comes 
into open conflict with the will of the 
people. In America, on the other hand, 
where every State, and, one might almost 
say, every town within the State, is an 
autonomous constitution, this public idea 
carries through to the form of Federal 
Government itself, and you have there a 
body that is, relatively speaking, remote 
and isolated in its authority. Again, in 
practice public opinion must have an 
influence upon the Government greater 
than is apparent in the nature of the in- 
strument, but the theory is one of less 
immediate responsibility to the people 
than is the case in England, 



62 The World Emancipator 

Both systems have their virtues and 
defects. In America you get in the Gov- 
ernment an increased sense of stability, 
which is wholesome, and an increased 
sense of impunity, which is dangerous. In 
England you get a more or less direct 
power of popular veto, which is altogether 
bracing for the Government, but at the 
same time you add enormously to the evils 
of misguided popular clamour. There are 
further aspects of this distinction between 
the two national methods to be con- 
sidered. 



VI 

Anglo-American Differences (II) 



VI 

ANGLO-AMERICAN DIFFERENCES (II) 

The national quality of mind that we 
have been discussing, produced partly by 
geographical facts, but more largely by a 
more cosmopolitan inheritance than is 
the Englishman's, results in two condi- 
tions of American society, one good and 
one bad, much more emphatic in each 
direction than they are in England. 

Civic pride, not through the agency 
of municipal authorities, but in the lives 
of individual citizens, is altogether more 
impressive and effective in America than 
in England. Everywhere is found a real 
communal activity and a high standard 
of public service, social, artistic, and in- 
dustrial. I do not mean that these things 
are not to be found in England, but they 
exist there far less commonly. It is this, 
incidentally, that makes the Americans 



66 The World Emancipator 

such perfect hosts, not only in their own 
homes, but in a public way. On the 
other hand, the prevalent sense of inde- 
pendence of external control gives any 
anti-social elements that may spring up 
a much freer license than they have with 
us. Lynch-law, for example, is abhorrent 
to every rational American citizen, but 
it nevertheless has a scope that would be 
impossible in England. 

Then, again, there is the matter of 
political graft, if I may be forgiven for 
speaking of an abuse which I hear roundly 
denounced by every American I meet, 
and which is exposed daily by the entire 
responsible press of the country. I think 
that perhaps the vast natural wealth of 
the land and the almost entire absence 
of individual poverty makes money here 
a rather less rigid public standard than 
it is with us, so that a piece of official job- 
bery may not have quite the same colour 
of delinquency in the minds of the offend- 



Anglo-American Differences 67 

ers. This very fact, while it gives an 
added virtue to the scrupulous integrity 
that is the standard of all but one in a 
thousand Americans, combines with the 
national tradition of independence, when 
this latter falls into excess in the mind of 
some wrongly disposed thousandth person, 
to give him greater latitude for his in- 
trigues than he would enjoy with us in 
England. Not, again, that political cor- 
ruption is unknown with us ; far from it, 
though I believe our municipal adminis- 
trations to be almost uniformly clean. I 
wish I could deny that they are often 
uncommonly stupid. 

This generalized difference in the two 
social and political expressions is apt to 
result in a certain misunderstanding on 
both sides in the minds of the shallower 
thinkers. Ill-informed people in England 
sometimes think of American life as being 
far more coloured than it, in fact, is by 
an almost violent self-consideration — a 



68 The World Emancipator 

travesty in prospect of the civic sense of 
which I have spoken, and by official self- 
interest — a corresponding travesty of 
these occasional but not too rigorously 
controlled lapses in public standards. I 
will say no more of these than to observe 
that it is the concern of every English- 
man who has had the privilege of any 
direct experience of American life to cor- 
rect so misguided an impression wherever 
he finds it at home. He knows that among 
the great majority of American people 
there is an earnest desire to understand 
and profit by external influences, and a 
profound detestation of public irregularity 
with a determination to abolish it. On 
the other hand Americans are sometimes 
apt to think of the English as being a 
little indecisive in handling their affairs, 
without realizing to the full the sensitive- 
ness of our political machinery to many 
conflicting currents of popular opinion. 
The problem of Ireland is a very good 



Anglo-American Differences 69 

example. This is not the place to discuss 
the long and tragic Irish difficulty in de- 
tail. But at least I may say that on the spot 
it presents itself with perplexing confu- 
sion of issues altogether uncomprehended 
when it is considered at a distance of three 
or four thousand miles, and when it is not 
seldom presented by men whose motives 
are not wholly those of blameless patriot- 
ism. There is no intelligent man or 
woman in England who does not ardently 
wish to see the Irish question settled, nor 
one that has not the deepest sympathy 
with Ireland's just national aspirations. 
You will everywhere find perfect good- 
will in the minds of English thinkers — 
especially of young English thinkers, and 
most young English people are thinking 
very hard — for the new generation of 
Irishmen that is working sincerely for the 
new life of Ireland, but you will naturally 
enough find little but impatience with 
the men who preach a flamboyant gospel 



7<d The World Emancipator 

to the ends of the earth, inspired not at 
all by a filial love of Ireland, but merely 
by political hatred of England. We have 
not developed these intoxications our- 
selves, and we do not admire them in 
others, nor are they shared by the clearest 
minds in Irish nationalism. 

I wish every American who seeks en- 
lightenment on this subject would read 
' Sir Edward Carson and the Ulster 
Movement/ written by St. John Ervine, 
the author of that very moving play 'John 
Ferguson/ and himself one of the most 
brilliant products of the young Irish na- 
tionalist school. From it may be learned 
how obstinately Ireland's internal reli- 
gious conflict has stood in the way of 
settlement, how shamefully that conflict 
has been exploited by political adventur- 
ers, and how sincere is the effort that is 
being made by progressive thought both 
in England and in Ireland to remove 
the whole religious question from contact 



Anglo-American Differences 71 

with the political issue, and how clear the 
way would be to a common understand- 
ing if once this were done. In the mean- 
time, while I have often, with many 
thousands of my countrymen, been dis- 
tressed and angered by official bungling 
of the Irish question, I am sure that the 
difficulty is by no means wholly or even 
chiefly due to any incurable defect in the 
English character. Taking failure with 
success, we have on the whole made a pretty 
good job of our dealings by the peoples 
with whom we have been associated in 
government. So that when a problem per- 
sists as Irish settlement has done, we may 
fairly claim that the explanation is to be 
sought in some internal circumstance 
beyond our control. You might easily 
travel for a week through England with- 
out finding a single person who wants to 
withhold home rule from Ireland, and 
you might as easily travel as long through 
Ireland without finding three consecu- 



72 The World Emancipator 

tive people in agreement as to the terms 
upon which they would accept it. 

The truth is that nations are wise to 
lay little stress upon their differences of 
character, since these upon examination 
are nearly always seen to result from lo- 
cal conditions with which it is at once 
idle and impertinent to quarrel. It is, 
indeed, well for the stranger to try to 
realize what these conditions are, for by 
doing this he will acquire a friendly tol- 
erance for their consequent national ex- 
pressions when they differ from those to 
which he is used in his own country. 
Generous criticism is as wholesome and 
necessary a part of international as of 
family affairs, being a normal corrective 
in human nature no matter on what scale 
it may be working, but it is as true of 
the relations between countries as of 
those between individuals to say that to 
know all is to forgive all. 

In considering thus briefly the differ- 



Anglo-American Differences 73 

ences between America and England, I 
am not, I need hardly say, unconscious 
of the differences within the two countries 
themselves. They are certainly marked 
enough in England, and my acquaintance 
with America makes it clear that they 
are even more so here. The Tynesider is 
a far cry from the Sussex shepherd, and 
the Manchester merchant looks to an 
ideal that is not very apparent to the 
Norfolk squire, but a body of six men 
whose traditions represented, say, Bos- 
ton, New York, Chicago, New Orleans, 
Salt Lake City, and San Francisco, would 
mark a diversity of bearing towards pub- 
lic and social life that would not be read- 
ily matched in England. But when all 
is said these domestic distinctions are in 
each case much more obvious to a peo- 
ple themselves than to the outside ob- 
server. An American Westerner and an 
American Easterner remain more like 
each other than any one else in the world, 



74 The World Emancipator 

and the average foreigner would know 
at once that either was an American with- 
out being able to say within a thousand 
miles where he hailed from, just as most 
people here would as readily believe that 
I come from Cornwall as from Cumber- 
land, when in fact I come from neither. 
The salient truth remains that between 
the American people as a whole and the 
English people as a whole there is a pro- 
found community of constitutionalmethod 
and ideal, and at the same time certain 
general differences of national character 
and approach. We have seen to what 
splendid end that community might be 
exercised in the present affairs of the 
world, and how Lincoln stands as a fit- 
ting and sufficient symbol through which 
this end may define itself. We have, fur- 
ther, considered some of the more im- 
portant of those differences, and we may 
now see how Lincoln may serve, too, as 
a sufficient symbol in the imagination of 
both peoples for the reconciling of these. 



VII 

Lincoln as Reconciler 



VII 
LINCOLN AS RECONCILER 

I have already said that the only coun- 
try outside America that could conceiv- 
ably have produced Abraham Lincoln in 
his essential character is England, and 
that he is, perhaps, the only figure of uni- 
versal significance in history, apart from 
her own heroes, that England would have 
satisfied her own best ideals in producing. 
Before inquiring how those differences 
between the two nations that we have 
been discussing may be reconciled in the 
example of this man, it will be well to 
analyze a little more closely the elements 
of his character. 

It is reasonably clear that the stock 
from which Lincoln came was of Eng- 
lish descent. In any case he was intellec- 
tually and spiritually a son of the Revo- 
lution of 1776. An American of pure 



7 8 The World Emancipator 

national strain very aptly described this 
Revolution to me the other day as the 
refusal of a community of English gen- 
tlemen to have their liberties interfered 
with by a meddlesome German poten- 
tate. It is a revolution that has the 
whole-hearted admiration of every free- 
dom-loving Englishman to-day, who rec- 
ognizes in it a cause which is his own, 
one for which he would have proudly 
stood. Lincoln's political inheritance was 
of virgin American quality, but it flowed 
in the finest English tradition. His in- 
stinctive discovery of the great principle 
of individual liberty within national unity 
was as surely the fruit of his own spirit 
and his personal and national environ- 
ment as, shall we say, Miss Amy Low- 
ell's vision of flowers in a summer gar- 
den is her own direct creation. But just 
as the poets for five hundred years, back 
to and beyond Chaucer, had sung this 
same vision before it was newly revealed 



Lincoln as Reconciler 79 

to Miss Lowell, so the guiding principle 
of Lincoln's character had been perme- 
ating the life of one people more domi- 
nantly than that of any other for genera- 
tions when Lincoln's nation was born, 
and that people was the English. 

Politically, then, in the highest sense, 
Lincoln stood for an idea towards which 
our English national purpose has always 
been. And it is not fanciful to see in the 
habit of his early pioneer days much that 
would shape him to a further kinship. 
No English traveller through Middle- 
Western America can fail to be impressed 
by a curious natural affinity between this 
landscape and his own. There are differ- 
ences and the parallel need not be too 
precise, but no Yorkshire dalesman or 
Oxfordshire yeoman would have been in 
any perplexity in those days had he been 
called upon to face the land and home- 
stead problems of Indiana or Kentucky. 
They would have been natural enough 



80 The World Emancipator 

to him, and he would have turned to 
them as readily as his own fathers did to 
theirs on their fells and plains. And among 
these vast prairies and wooded expanses 
he would have worked in an environ- 
ment to which he was no stranger. The 
human eye cannot reach beyond the hori- 
zon, and the little orbit of a man's daily 
labour in primitive conditions is as wide 
in a small island as in a mighty conti- 
nent. It was a mysterious providence that 
led those English settlers to a country 
where the potent influence of the soil and 
nature's wearing should be so strangely 
like that in which their ancestry had 
moved. To see Lincoln moulding him- 
self in the quiet and unsensational land- 
scape of his homeland is to remember 
another figure so little like him in ap- 
pearance, and the long, lonely fens among 
which Cromwell brooded upon his coun- 
try's destiny until he too rose from middle 
age to the direction of a troubled people. 



Lincoln as Reconciler 8 1 

Then from this rough tutoring, in so 
close intimacy with the earth, where Na- 
ture spoke in no spectacular voice and a 
man's ears had to be intent to catch her 
secrets, Lincoln turned for his profession 
to the law. It was a law devised in the 
light of new experiences and argued of- 
ten less by 'precedent than by a rough- 
and-ready but clear sense of justice as it 
appeared to men who were building a 
new society. But its foundation was the 
English legal code, and in making equity 
its chief aim it was following an exam- 
ple that, however sadly it may at times 
have been abused, has been the proud 
ideal of every English court from the 
beginning. * Do always all that you can 
to dissuade your client from a suit/ was 
Lincoln's counsel in later life to a novice, 
and the administration of law on the 
Illinois circuit round which he travelled 
by buggy with his fellow-pleaders and 
the judges was honourably impatient of 



82 The World Emancipator 

nice technical quibbles. It was the com- 
mon purpose as far as possible to adjust 
quarrels in the light of plain reason and 
fair dealing, and although the court- 
rooms were often oddly unimposing they 
were not stuffy with the sophistries of 
more august assemblies. Lincoln, and a 
good many of the others, wanted not 
merely to win a case, but to establish a 
just one. The evasion of truth by quick- 
ness of wit had no attraction for them, 
and they reckoned a man's reputation to 
depend more upon the honesty of his 
clients than upon any gift for making 
the great appear the lesser reason. In 
short, Lincoln was engaged in giving 
simple and practical effect to the very 
spirit of English law, unobscured by the 
pedantries of dullards or the nimble equiv- 
ocations of rogues by which it is so often 
betrayed in practice, and with which it has 
become encrusted. In these courts Black- 
stone's Commentaries, gospel as they were, 



Lincoln as Reconciler 83 

did not absolve you from the duty of under- 
standing men and using your experience. 
Here, then, is a man peculiarly equipped 
by circumstance for focussing the Amer- 
ican and the English imagination in one 
point. His intense communal feeling, de- 
rived both in his pride in the Revolu- 
tion from which his national entity came 
and from his life in the closely intimate 
society of the pioneer States where he 
matured, combined with his broad legal 
tradition, learned at English sources, to 
make him always loyal at once to the 
best qualities that we have seen to inform 
the American ideal of private and public 
service on the one hand, and that of Eng- 
land on the other. If there has been a 
slight tendency in American life to un- 
derrate the importance of influences out- 
side the immediate community, he would 
have been the first to detect the mistake, 
and if we in England are sometimes too 
easily swayed by irresponsible voices, there 



84 The World Emancipator 

is no completer example to be found for 
our correction than in the steadfastness 
of Lincoln. 

But in the splendid civic pride of 
American citizens and our own demand 
that government shall always be directly 
and immediately sensible of sincere pop- 
ular feeling, he would recognize two 
principles rich in possibilities of good- 
will and mutual enlightenment. And so 
he adds this further service to the two 
races, showing us in one character the 
perfect choice in the things wherein we 
differ, as he has shown us in that charac- 
ter the consummation of the idea for 
which we have always stood in common. 

The spirit of Lincoln moves in the 
wisest counsels of us both to-day, and the 
reflection is full of hope for the future of 
the world. I propose now to speak briefly 
of the relation of history to art, and to ask 
how the artist can help in adding signifi- 
cance to the word of the historian. 



VIII 
History and Art 



VIII 
HISTORY AND ART 

I was recently discussing art and philos- 
ophy with one of the ablest of the 
younger school of Glasgow philosophers. 
I was trying to explain creative processes 
from the artist's point of view, and he 
to give them philosophical interpretation. 
We were spending a day together on the 
Grampian Hills, and now and then our 
talk would turn off from the subject that 
mostly preoccupied us. And he told me 
a story, with reference to nothing in 
particular, but having, it seemed to me, 
a very direct bearing upon the whole 
question of the function of art. It was 
this: 

An eminent nerve specialist was treat- 
ing a young English officer for shell- 
shock at the end of the war. There was 
no apparent physical ailment, but the 



88 The World Emancipator 

patient suffered from complete loss of 
memory of everything in his life before 
the moment when he recovered con- 
sciousness in the hospital, and from deep 
and continuous mental depression. When 
other treatments had wholly failed, the 
doctor tried hypnosis, with this result. 
In the hypnotic state the patient recon- 
structed the circumstances of his casualty 
and related them in detail. He had been 
an artilleryman in command of a battery. 
In the midst of a critical action one of 
his men had made a blunder that gravely 
imperilled the lives of them all. He was 
himself a man of equable temper, but he 
told with great animation how in a state 
of high nervous tension he had turned 
upon the offender with a fury of reproof 
in his mind. At that moment a shell had 
burst at his feet, and he knew no more 
until he came back to life with a blank 
past and in a state of acute wretchedness. 
When he came to consciousness from 



History and Art 89 

hypnosis after telling this narrative, he 
was a cured man. His natural buoyancy 
was restored at once and completely, and 
his memory rapidly recovered nor did 
the trouble return. 

The specialist's explanation, and it was 
one with which every artist will agree, 
was that it was, so to speak, a case of an 
unresolved action of the mind. At a time 
of acute mental strain the gunner had 
suddenly been thrown by an accident into 
a mood of extreme anger, and the mood 
was violently arrested in mid-career. From 
that moment it had remained in suspense, 
and the loss of memory occasioned by 
the shock of the explosion had made it 
impossible for him to complete the arc 
in his mind. The physiological cause of 
the loss of memory is not to the present 
point, but it was precisely this unresolved 
action of the mind that, acting as a con- 
tinual irritant, produced in his brain the 
sickness of something in a trap. Under 



90 The World Emancipator 

hypnosis the suspended mental wave had 
spent itself, and normal functioning re- 
turned. 

In this illustration is an epitome of 
the artist's activity. The sole cause of the 
creation of art is the imperative necessity 
in some minds for the exact realization 
through definite and concrete forms of 
something that in its natural expression 
is not completely intelligible. The art- 
ist's mind is restless always in the pres- 
ence of the confused medley of life, and 
achieves composure only in reducing se- 
lected volumes of this chaos to shape and 
order. That is, in fact, what creation 
means. And while he does this in the 
first place simply to satisfy his own needs, 
his art will give a measure of the same 
satisfaction to other men who come in 
contact with it. 

The material from which the artist 
thus selects for his purpose passes before 
him in many kinds, all of them more 



History and Art 91 

or less indefinite and haphazard in their 
natural expression. It may be the earth 
and its seasonal changes, or it may be the 
flux of society, or it may be the pages of 
history — be it of a nation or of a man 
— or it may be the complex of an indi- 
vidual character. It does not matter how 
exhaustively he may use any of these; it 
is the using of any part of one ot them 
significantly that gives peace to the pur- 
pose of his mind. It is in a very literal 
sense that the artist is called one who 
sees, the seer. 

It will be noticed that history is as 
readily to the artist's hand as the daily 
current of life under his own observa- 
tion. The aim of the scientific historian 
is to present a complete and minutely 
precise record of a period or of a man's 
career as the case may be. He can never, 
in the nature of the case, be wholly suc- 
cessful in this aim; it is interesting to 
reflect on how many stout volumes it 



92 The World Emancipator 

1 ■ ' 1«^— ■ ' ■ u » m ■■ ii i ii iii .u a H i ■■■! ■ ii .. i ■ ■ i. — i i n l i....i i . i a 

would take to give an exhaustive account 
of a single year in the most uneventful 
life. But, none the less, his historical 
standard is clear. Events and influences 
are not to be ignored because they are 
apparently casual, and the insignificant 
must stand side by side with matters of 
main interest, and rightly so, since his 
office is to record and not to select or 
distinguish. Indeed, one recognizes the 
true spirit, by reversal, in the historical 
examiner who set the question, 'What 
do you know of Canute? Omit all refer- 
ence to the waves incident/ 

When the artist turns to history, then, 
he will find, as it were, a photographic 
assembly of facts, and his imagination 
will feel the old necessity of arranging 
some of these into self-contained and suf- 
ficient forms. He does not compete with 
the historian, and it is pointless to debate 
which of the two achieves the greater 
truth. The artist may, indeed, manipu- 



History and Art 93 

late some of the historian's facts, thereby, 
perhaps, distressing a few narrowly sci- 
entific minds. But it is hard to deny 
that, in ordering history to what seems 
to him a truer significance than can be 
seen in the chance of actual events, he 
often attains the greater verity. Who, 
for example, does not understand the 
scholar gipsy more profoundly in the art 
of Matthew Arnold than in the chroni- 
cle of Glanvil, and in turn more fully in 
Glanvil's own simple record than he 
would have done by direct observation 
of that vagrant Oxford life ? And just as 
it is the artist's business not to write his- 
tory over again, but to make spiritual 
inferences from history already written 
and vital projections of this or that theme 
lying unmoulded in the historian's page, 
so is the case with records of individual 
character. The artist makes no bid for 
biographical honours. He does not seek 
to tell either the whole story of a *- 



94 The World Emancipator 

the manifold aspects of his nature. Hec- 
uba doubtless was a genial gossip on quiet 
Trojan evenings, and Lorenzo was, likely 
enough, a shrewd young man of business 
promise on the Rialto, but these were 
no concerns of Euripides and Shakespeare. 
They knew that the obligation of the 
artist was not to say all things, but to in- 
tensify the meaning of some, an obliga- 
tion that seemed to them to be the one 
of supreme honour in the province of 
the mind. If these things were not so, 
Boswell would be incontestably the great- 
est master in the English tongue, which 
he certainly is not for all he is a very 
considerable fellow, indeed. 

When, therefore, from the story of a 
man or an epoch there emerges some 
dominating idea, it is almost certain that 
sooner or later the artists will come along 
and proceed to isolate that idea from all 
irrelative things that surround it in his- 
tory, and re-create it in a form of its 



History and Art 95 

own urging. They may find a dozen dif- 
ferent interpretations of it, but each will 
have its unmistakable and durable mean- 
ing. If it is pleaded against them that 
Hamlet is strangely familiar with the 
Elizabethan playhouse for a Danish prince 
of the twelfth century, or that Abraham 
Lincoln, while he was many things, was 
never a ship's captain, they take no heed, 
for they know better than that. And 
truly it were as wise to blame Whitman 
for figuring his hero thus as to blame 
Mr. Shaw, for instance, for editing his- 
tory to suit his presentation of Caesar and 
Cleopatra. 

The American Civil War, with Lin- 
coln as its protagonist and the pioneer 
days as a background, has, it seems to me, 
more than any other story of the modern 
world, breaking through all its confusion, 
just the clear-cut significance upon which 
the artist's imagination loves to seize. I 
cannot but hope that some American 



96 The World Emancipator 

poet will presently see in this the fit occa- 
sion for the first native epic of the later 
English-speaking race, and the hope is 
encouraged by such an admirable little 
masterpiece as Mr. Lee Masters's ' Spoon 
River Anthology/ In the meantime the 
central figure of Lincoln himself has 
already grown in definition in the work 
of many artists, who, in so far as this is 
true, have taken their part in furthering 
the wider understanding between two 
countries that has been the theme of 
these papers. I should like to pass some 
of this work briefly in review. 



IX 

Lincoln and the Artists 



IX 
LINCOLN AND THE ARTISTS 
My necessarily imperfect knowledge of 
later American literature and other arts 
will make omissions from this note in- 
evitable. Of painting in particular I can 
say nothing in this connection, since I 
do not know of any painter who has 
aimed at interpretation of Lincoln. Should 
there be any, he will compete with the 
photographer, who did his work very 
exhaustively, as little as the writer does 
with the historian or biographer. I am 
the happy possessor of a charming col- 
oured lithograph which I take to be con- 
temporary with Lincoln. It is no more 
than a simple and direct piece of repre- 
sentation, but it has an attractive homely 
grace and meaning much like that of the 
Rogers groups that are sure presently to 
regain the favour that they have lost. 



ioo The World Emancipator 

They are unassuming, but they have the 
quiet native distinction of a flowered sam- 
pler or early Staffordshire pottery. The 
ordinary run of popular Lincoln prints 
and engravings have little meaning, be- 
ing manufactured merely to supply a 
market and having no relation to art. 

I suppose a pretty considerable anthol- 
ogy of Lincoln poems might be made, 
but only three or four have impressed 
me deeply. This is natural enough, since 
the influence of a great character will 
always work slowly upon the poets of 
his own people, who have to disentangle 
essentials from the small talk of tradi- 
tion. And the rest of the world is likely 
to wait upon their announcement of the 
imaginative appeal that they at length 
discover, although in rare instances a 
stranger is betimes with them. After 
Whitman's magnificent threnody, writ- 
ten out of a deep personal sorrow, I do 
not know of anything strikingly memo- 



Lincoln and the Artists ioi 

rable until our own time. Then we have 
a few poems, small in compass, but en- 
tirely adequate to their theme and in 
one or two instances nobly so. Mr. Percy 
MacKaye's ' Centenary Ode ' has a gen- 
erous sweep and several touches of rev- 
elation, but its scheme and the occasion 
made the highest success very difficult. 
It remains a poet's tribute if not wholly 
a poet's achievement. Mr. Edwin Mark- 
ham, too, worthily adds his word of last- 
ing witness in his ' Lincoln/ I am sure 
that there are others which I have not 
been fortunate enough to find, but the 
two poems that have most moved me 
are Mr. Vachel Lindsay's ' Abraham Lin- 
coln Walks at Midnight' and Mr. Lee 
Masters's 'Ann Rutledge.' If no other 
commemoration had been made by Amer- 
ican poetry than these, the muse of Lin- 
coln's country would not have failed him 
in her office. Mr. Lindsay, with hardly 
a false accent, achieves that most diffi- 



102 The World Emancipator 

cult of all things in verse to-day, the 
grand style. There is no touch of rhet~ 
oric in his poem, but it takes us easily 
into a world of heroic stature, and its 
speech is that of high ceremonial with 
no word of affectation. It is a happy 
thing that the poet who could create this 
perfect challenge should come from Lin- 
coln's own town. Springfield, Illinois, 
will some day be aware of a new laurel 
in its wreath. Mr. Masters's poem on 
'Ann Rutledge' in his Spoon River book 
has a poignancy akin to that of one of 
Lincoln's own phrases. Of exquisite ten- 
derness, it has that last simplicity of art 
which it is impossible to perceive with- 
out being but a little way from tears. Of 
slighter rank, but having something of 
the same quality, is Mr. Masters's other 
Lincoln poem in the same book, * Han- 
nah Armstrong.' To read the poems that 
I have named is in each case to be quick- 
ened in understanding of some perma- 



Lincoln and the Artists 103 

nence or another in Lincoln's spiritual 
being. No new thing is said, but always 
a new emphasis is made, a new and re- 
vealing image created. 

Of the presentation of Lincoln in fic- 
tion I am not competent to speak, hav- 
ing always been a culpably poor reader 
of contemporary fiction. But the sculp- 
tors have done well by our hero. The 
great Saint-Gaudens statue at Chicago is 
probably more popular than any other, 
and for very good reasons. It has no rare 
subtlety nor original invention, but it is 
in the heroic manner without any touch 
of ridiculous solemnity. It is, in the 
right way, impressive. Splendidly placed 
— with a device by which it may be 
seen by night as well as day — it pre- 
sents to the public imagination a figure 
worthily in the great tradition of the fo- 
rum. It aims at none of the more mov- 
ing human qualities, but it succeeds in 
the venture of suggesting that our kind 



104 The World Emancipator 

may be titanic. Official art in its abuses 
falls often enough into merely preten- 
tious mannerism, but in a vigorous state 
it has its proper use, and Saint-Gaudens 
has discovered what this is. Great talent 
is not the less admirable in that it falls 
short of the mark of genius, and great 
talent is unquestionably here. One can- 
not stand before this gravely intent de- 
sign without the consciousness that ' noth- 
ing common was or mean* in the man 
so commemorated. In a more intimate, 
less majestic manner, the O'Connor me- 
morial at Springfield, Illinois, achieves 
the same distinction. This is a work that 
loses nothing by a certain modesty of 
treatment. It is the tribute of an artist 
seeking honourably to express his own 
measure of understanding without being 
tempted to assume the inherent great- 
ness of his subject. The Borglum statue 
I have not seen, but from photographs 
I gather that it has unusual power and 



Lincoln and the Artists 105 

imagination. Again there is a revelation 
of that in character which had not been 
quite so clear before. 

But Lincoln has inspired one sculptor 
to a work of indisputable genius. Once 
more it may be necessary to remind our- 
selves that the artist is not in competi- 
tion with photographic record, or even 
with visual memory. These have their 
own precise value, and no reasonable be- 
ing underrates them. George Gray Bar- 
nard's statue in Cincinnati, now stand- 
ing in replica in England at Manchester, 
is a masterpiece of creative interpreta- 
tion of which every American should be 
immensely proud. The factions that be- 
set the progress of every art are healthy, 
and out of them always comes rich and 
original work. Such tokens of develop- 
ment, however, commonly have, for all 
their individual worth, some sign of the 
quarrel in which they were engendered. 
But now and then a man comes along 



106 The World Emancipator 

who is apparently oblivious of all the 
feuds, and working in the clear line of 
descent from a great and long tradition 
is able to invest his art with entirely new 
and arresting significance. A notable ex- 
ample is to be found in our modern Eng- 
lish school of painting. Invention, sin- 
cerity, fearlessness, all these qualities 
abound in it, and a dozen men are pro- 
ducing work that will stimulate the whole 
future of painting in the country, and in 
itself prove to be of durable value. But 
much of it is a little aggressive, a little 
touched by anger, to its injury. There 
is in it a hint of some resentment that 
was partly its governing impulse. And 
then you find an artist like Eric Ken- 
nington, drawing very simply and directly 
as though he had never heard of the pas- 
sionate disputes ringing through the stu- 
dios, ami by sheer intensity and natural 
instinct absorbing our attention as surely 
as do the older masters. 



Lincoln and the Artists 107 

And so it is with Mr. Barnard. His 
Lincoln statue is modern and personal 
enough, too modern and personal, per- 
haps, for those who see in tradition not 
a discipline, but merely an example to be 
copied. Yet it is as truly informed by tra- 
dition as are the new enchantments of 
the Russian ballet and Thomas Hardy's 
novels. In technique it frankly, and, as it 
seems to me, refreshingly, discards some 
of the more obvious conventions, but in 
every basic principle of the art it is as pro- 
found and as exact as are the creations 
of Michael Angelo himself. By the sim- 
plest means the artist has given us his 
personal vision of Lincoln, not hesitating 
to make his own example in such details 
of design as the placing of the feet and 
the folding of the great, potent hands, 
and at the same time he has been con- 
tent to apply himself to the closest pos- 
sible verisimilitude. Nothing could be 
more instructive in the ways of plastic art 



108 The World Emancipator 

than to examine, as I have done, this work 
of profoundly imaginative genius point 
by point in relation to Leonard Volk's 
life-mask. It is to realize anew how 
splendidly the truth of creative vision has 
its roots in the truth of reality. 

And so the artists, too, in their lone- 
liness are public servants. They help daily 
to define the symbols around which our 
thought and desire may be expressed; 
they give shape to dreams, bringing them 
to the practical uses of living. If Lincoln 
shall stand as the figure in which an in- 
tellectual and spiritual alliance between 
America and England shall be articulate 
to the immeasurable good of mankind, 
the artists will not be unhonoured in the 
event. 



X 

An Epilogue 



X 

AN EPILOGUE 

It is in the shades. On a late spring evening of 
the year 19 — , William Shakespeare is seated 
on a fallen tree, by the edge of a small woodland 
stream, ^he modern prophets of spiritualistic 
science, who announce personal continuity with so 
pure a faith, might take comfort from the Poet* s 
occupation ; for as the water trickles and gyrates 
above the pebbles, sending up here and there little 
spirals of sand, and catches the shadows from 
early leaves overhead, he considers it all with the 
oldintentness, murmuring in an undertone familiar 
snatches of a philosophy that remains unresolved. 
And as he considers anew his sermons in stones, 
books in the running brooks, and tongues in trees, 
a fellow shade, of the true spectral height, ap- 
proaches him through the wood. A look of pleased 
recognition comes into Shakespeare's face, and 
he speaks. 

Shakespeare. Hullo — if itis n't Abra- 
ham. This is uncommonly well met. 

Lincoln. Good evening, Will. I don't 
want to disturb you, though. 



ii2 The World Emancipator 

Shakespeare. I could want no better 
company. Let us talk. Sit down. 

Lincoln [sitting on the tree-trunk). A 
good tree to fell, this. There's noth- 
ing like it — the clean sweep, and the 
ring, and the flying white wedges, and 
then the whimpering of the wood and 
the long, drifting fall. That 's how it was 
in Salem. They were good days. 

Shakespeare. There were woodmen 
in Arden too. Where have you been? It 's 
thirty years or more since I saw you. 

Lincoln. It 's all that guy Plato. He 
will argue. I met him just after I left you 
that time, and we got on to the slave 
question. I generally let him talk, but I 
simply could n't stand that. And then 
there was no end to it. We 've been at it 
ever since. Every year with the coming 
of the spring he grows more eloquent and 
more stupid. This is his thirtieth season 
and I 've left him at it. I could bear it 
no longer. Crazy old Athenian junk. 



An Epilogue 113 

He's as obstinate as a Sangamon pig too. 
I 've made it perfectly clear to him over 
and over again. And he will stick to it 
that the highest interests of a chosen few 
warrant the subjection — 

Shakespeare. Steady, Abraham. 
Don't start another thirty years with me. 
And I was never quite all in with the mob, 
anyway, you know. 

Lincoln. No — that was the worst of 
you. I suppose that Elizabethan court was 
pretty suffocating, eh ? Could n't always 
say just what you liked. 

Shakespeare. I don't think we 
showed much sign of suffocating. In fact, 
our lungs were freer than is common. And 
we said what we meant. We were poets. 

Lincoln. Then you didn't really care 
for the people ? 

Shakespeare. I loved them — so 
much that I wanted them to change. You 
loved them, too, I know. You liberated 
a race. But you had no time to help to 



ii4 The World Emancipator 

make them better. That 's the real love, 
is n't it ? 

Lincoln. I know. I could have helped. 
It needed that. I like your company, 
Will. I don't always agree with you, but 
we seem to understand each other. 

Shakespeare. Why not? We come 
from the same stock. You would have 
been at home by the Avon. 

Lincoln. I think I should. Those 
plays of yours were great, Will. You 
know, the man of affairs, let him keep 
himself as flexible as he will — and I 
tried to do that — is bound to gather 
prejudices, even though they 're honest 
ones. That 's why I liked your plays — 
there were no prejudices in them. Every- 
body had a chance. 

Shakespeare. It was my job to under- 
stand. 

Lincoln. I know — it was splendid, 
wasn't it — trying to understand people 
instead of trying to dominate them? 



An Epilogue 115 

That's what a lot of folks about me never 
could realize — that I too was more than 
half poet at heart. 

Shakespeare. That 's what England 
gave you. 

Lincoln. That was what I most 
wanted to do — to bring a poet's under- 
standing to the workaday government of 
a nation. 

Shakespeare. That 's what you are 
giving England. It's good payment. 

Lincoln. I suppose you are the great- 
est Englishman. 

Shakespeare. To my surprise it is 
said so. 

Lincoln. A poet. That is remark- 
able. 

Shakespeare. It is being suggested 
that you are the greatest American. 

Lincoln. So I hear. 

Shakespeare. A politician. Even more 
remarkable. 

Lincoln. And yet, it's — what your 



1 1 6 The World Emancipator 

descendants would call rather fun, is n't 
it? A simple proposition — like this. Eng- 
land — a poet — with a shrewd head for 
affairs — good bargain and a comfortable 
retirement at the end. But a poet always. 
America — a politician, searching always 
for vision, vision — as the poet does. We 
should understand each other. 

Shakespeare. We will see to it that 
none stop us. 

Lincoln. By the way — did you really 
do so well out of those plays ? 

Shakespeare. I built as good a house 
as any in Stratford out of them, and I 
took — 

Lincoln. Oh, yes, the trademark of 
gentility. I never thought of that myself. 
That is, in America — but it was very 
natural, Will, and I like you the better 
for it. A good house — yes, I '11 be bound 
it was — By the way, I once wrote a 
poem. You never heard it by any chance ? 
It was n't very good. 



An Epilogue 117 

Shakespeare. No, I never heard it. 

Lincoln. Shall I repeat it for you? 

Shakespeare. I expect, as you say, it 
wasn't very good. And I have rather 
severe standards. So many of my friends 
had a talent for that sort of thing. 

Lincoln. Eh ? Yes, well, I dare say 
you. are right. [Rising.) Shall you be 
here to-morrow? 

Shakespeare. If you will come. 

Lincoln. Good-bye. 

Shakespeare. Till then. 

Lincoln moves away. At a distance he 
turns. 

Lincoln. By the way, I see that one of 
your fellows has made a play about me. 

Shakespeare. Indeed? He had an 
eye for a theme, at least. 

Lincoln. Don't tell any one, but I 
got a copy sent across here. It 's well 
enough — in fact, I should like to see it. 
But he plays the devil with one or two 
of my best speeches. 



1 1 8 The World Emancipator 

Shakespeare. Don't worry, Abraham. 
They do that with all of mine. 

Lincoln considers this for a moment, 
and goes away, leaving Shakespeare 
to the further contemplation of his 
stream. 



<$be Iftfcntfi&e pre** 

CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS 
U . S . A